April selection signifies new era

2016-05-30 10:00
Garth April (Gallo)

Cape Town - The selection of Garth April was as surprising as any in Allister Coetzee's first Springbok squad. 

The 24-year-old was playing club rugby in Cape Town just a year ago and when he was given a lifeline by the Sharks, he took it in the knowledge that the Currie Cup would likely be his platform in 2016.

But an injury to Pat Lambie opened the Super Rugby door for the young flyhalf, and it didn't take long for April to outshine the seasoned Joe Pietersen and move into the No 10 jersey in Lambie's absence. 

April has just eight Super Rugby caps to his name, but that was enough to convince Coetzee. 

It is a selection that signifies the new Bok coach's commitement to progress - not just in terms of transformation, but in backing young talent. 

While it may appear brave from Coetzee on the surface, April's call-up also contributes immensely to the feeling of this being a new Springbok era. 

It is unlikely that he will play against Ireland - Eltoin Jantjies is expected to be fit while Pat Lambie is in the running for the captaincy - but April is set to gain valuable experience over the next month. 

"Garth April showed tremendous composure when he was chucked into the deep end playing against Toulon overseas," Coetzee said, recalling the Sharks' pre-season tour to France at the beginning of the year.

"He is one of those flyhalves who can really take it to the line and he also has a good kicking game.

"I like the way Garth has shown composure as a youngster in top games."

Coetzee added that April's lack of experience should not be seen as a concern, but as an opportunity.

"One shouldn’t be scared to expose your young flyhalves to this level early," he said.

"When New Zealand do it and bring a (Lima) Sopoaga to Ellis Park and they play against the Boks and win the Test, then it’s great for the New Zealanders.

"This boy (April) has got the ability to do it and I was never going to select an overseas-based 10 to be a third-choice flyhalf.

"That’s how serious we are at SA Rugby to make sure that we do give our younger players opportunity to come through."

Coetzee said that April's form in Super Rugby demontrated a skill set that fits the mould of the type of flyhalf needed to take the Springboks forward.

"It was quite clear that when Garth April started to start for the Sharks he turned the game around," sad Coetzee.

"His timing on the ball is good and in all fairness he actually organises as well and makes sure that he gets options outside and around him. He can manage the game."

With the Springbok squad of 31 set to be trimmed ahead of the first Test against Ireland on June 11, Coetzee confirmed that those players left out will be made available for the SA 'A' team to play against the England Saxons on June 10.

Read more on:    springboks  |  garth april  |  allister coetzee  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

05 November 2016
Barbarians v South Africa, London 15:00
12 November 2016
England v South Africa, Twickenham 16:30
19 November 2016
Italy v South Africa, Stadio Artemio Franchi 15:00
26 November 2016
Wales v South Africa, Millennium Stadium 19:30

Did Stormers and Springboks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit deserve to be named SA Rugby Player of the Year?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.